Michigan State University wins 2019 Golden Padlock Award

Investigative Reporters and Editors has named Michigan State University as the winner of its annual Golden Padlock Award recognizing the most secretive U.S. agency or individual. MSU was selected for this national honor for keeping sweeping sexual assault scandals under tight wraps, including serial abuse by disgraced team doctor Larry Nassar and hundreds of student…

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Finalists announced for 2019 Golden Padlock Award

COLUMBIA, MISSOURI: Investigative Reporters and Editors is proud to announce the finalists for its 2019 Golden Padlock Award celebrating the most secretive government agency or individual in the United States. “From protecting powerful companies and politicians from public scrutiny to hiding the use of millions in taxpayer dollars to shrouding serious crimes in secrecy, the…

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Open data benefits many, but cost breakdown unclear

Editor’s Note: This article first ran on July 20, 2017 on the Investigative Reporting Workshop’s website. By Clairissa Baker and Yang Sun, Investigative Reporting Workshop A new citywide data policy in Washington, D.C., shows there is no simple way for cities to clearly budget open data initiatives.  Meanwhile, as the city works this summer to…

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Scott Pruitt wins 2017 Golden Padlock

Investigative Reporters and Editors has named Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the winner of its annual Golden Padlock Award recognizing the most secretive U.S. agency or individual.  Pruitt was selected for this honor for steadfastly refusing to provide emails in the public interest and removing information…

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IRE Radio Podcast | BONUS: The State of the FOIA

It’s been 50 years since the federal Freedom of Information Act was signed into law. A lot’s happened since then – not all of it good for the press. We’re calling this bonus episode “The State of the FOIA” because, over the next 30 minutes, we’ll be talking to three experts to figure out what…

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Des Moines Register gets a win in an uphill fight for transparency

By Deron Lee, CJR Editor’s Note: This article first ran on August 15, 2016 on the Columbia Journalism Review’s website. Not long after taking over as editor of the Des Moines Register in 2014, Amalie Nash told CJR that she was determined to uphold the paper’s “longstanding tradition of standing up for public records.” So now, as she prepares…

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How ‘the public is priced out of public records’ by Michigan universities

By Anna Clark, CJR Editor’s Note: This article first ran on April 5, 2016 on the Columbia Journalism Review’s website. In Michigan, transparency comes at a cost—and a seemingly arbitrary one at that. The Society of Professional Journalists chapter at Central Michigan University recently conducted a FOIA audit of the state’s 15 public universities. It asked for…

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Nominate a secretive government agency for IRE’s Golden Padlock award

The 2015 Golden Padlock presentation Watch on YouTube Investigative Reporters and Editors is now welcoming nominations for its fourth annual Golden Padlock award recognizing the most secretive government agency in the United States. “Thwarting the public’s right to know has become a mission statement inside many government bureaucracies across the country,” said Robert Cribb, chair…

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How two court rulings involving universities breathe new life into the right to know

By Jonathan Peters, CJR.org Editor’s Note: This article first ran on March 23, 2016 on the Columbia Journalism Review’s website. Sunshine Week brought some welcome news for transparency advocates this year: Two state courts ruled, in suits brought by news organizations, that freedom-of-information laws require private entities to disclose their records if they perform a…

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Virginia’s secret police: A fight to hold law enforcement accountable

By Gary Harki, The Virginian-Pilot In February, the Virginia Senate passed a bill that would allow law enforcement agencies to keep secret the names of all police officers, deputy sheriffs and fire marshals. It eventually died in a House subcommittee, but only after journalists raised the alarm that the state of Virginia was about to…

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